STARRED REVIEW
April 10, 2019

The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins

By Gail Shepherd

Gail Shepherd’s colorful debut novel The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins takes place in 1985 in the town of Love’s Forge, Tennessee. As the story opens, 11-year-old Lyndie and her parents have lost their home and have had to move in with her grandparents.

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Gail Shepherd’s colorful debut novel The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins takes place in 1985 in the town of Love’s Forge, Tennessee. As the story opens, 11-year-old Lyndie and her parents have lost their home and have had to move in with her grandparents.

Lyndie is an outspoken, curious girl who loves research, history and getting to the bottom of things, but her quest to discover the truth about her father’s job loss and her parents’ strained relationship isn’t easy. One thing Lyndie does know is that it’s best to keep her daddy’s habit of hiding George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey in his glove box a secret from her opinionated grandma, who isn’t so sure that her son, a wounded Vietnam vet, quite knows how to raise Lyndie into a proper young lady. As for Lyndie’s mom who’s moved into a small room alone: “When she’s not at her new job at Miller’s Department she stays holed up in that room chewing on Bayer aspirins.”

In addition to Lyndie’s troubled family situation, her best friend Dawn is dealing with the outcome of her own issues; Dawn’s family is taking in a boy named D.B. who’s just come from a reform school. Eventually, both Lyndie’s father and D.B. realize they cannot outrun their past, and that they instead must undertake the long, hard work of trying to recover.

This richly voiced story explores themes of PTSD, the hope of redemption and the importance of friends and family. Full of humor and insights, The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins will give middle school readers much to think and talk about.

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